Perrysburg City Council today begrudgingly accepted a conciliator's decision on wage increases for firefighters, which chose the union proposal over the city's offer after the city rejected a fact-finder recommendation.
The conciliator found that Perrysburg was an affluent city that could afford the increases proposed by International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3331, and that the wage hikes would keep pace with cumulative increases received by police officers from 2006-2011, said councilman Maria Ermie after a lengthy executive session.
"I don't remember when this became a race," she said, noting that the city had increased police officers' wages to remain competitive.
The firefighters union had proposed no wage increase in 2012, 5.25 percent in 2013, and 2.5 percent in 2014, while the city had proposed a 1.75 percent increase each year. A fact finder then recommended a 2.75 percent increase in 2012 and then 2.5 percent the next two years.
Ms. Ermie and councilman Timothy McCarthy expressed dissatisfaction with the process and that comparisons to private sector wages were not taken into consideration.
"That's how you end up with bad results like this," Mr. McCarthy said.
Propelled by a statute to accept the results, council agreed to enter into an employment agreement with the union consistent with the conciliator's report by a 6-0 vote. Councilman Michael Olmstead was absent.
In other matters, council unanimously authorized contracts with Ride Right for transit services and with Best Equipment for refuse and recycling services.